Update: UbD status in our school

We just finished a trimester of UbD. It is our first time to employ the UbD method in our school using the DepEd created modules. This trimester, we only executed the ones from Math, Social Science and Science. The outputs for each module are great! You can see the students doing the project themselves and really applying that they know. Some feedback though that I received from the teachers:

Math: The module lasted for almost 2 months (depended on the pace of the students’ learning) and the topic covered only measurement. They tried to compare it with last year’s pace when they already have covered several topics in 2 months. I don’t know if it’s worth lagging behind the content for the skill and mastery of measurement. But I was able to watch the “culminating” project of the module and I was impressed with the students. The students were to propose a water tank design, size, and cost, present it using slideshow presentation and dressed up like real professionals in the field. They also defended their designs while the classmates threw questions at them. It was almost like the “real world.”

Science: It didn’t create much noise in school. I guess it’s because the module is not far from how science is already taught in our school.

Social Science: Same with Math. The output was also impressive. Students presented their Philippine History timelines side by side with other significant world events. The teacher liked the idea of the timeline because the students were able to have a world view of events that were happening at a certain period of time. The events became more relevant to the students because they became aware of what was happening when they were born. The teacher also was happy that there was indeed mastery of the topic with little lecture from the teacher because as they created their timelines, they did their own research and chose the significant events themselves. In effect, they were able to evaluate which ones are significant and which ones are not. Since topics are limited, the teacher had a difficult time crafting the trimestral exam because they didn’t cover much.

Conclusion: UbDized lessons do achieve the goal of mastery of skills and preparing the students for the real world especially the workplace. However, content is indeed sacrificed. Being a theory, there are no researches yet that confirm the effectivity of this framework. Several things though that I love about UbD is the GRASPS (basically, the culminating activity of the module). Then again, being someone who doesn’t subscribe to just one educational theory, I could still employ the GRASPS without adhering completely to the UbD and at the same time balance the content with skill mastery. Right now, UbD seems to be lopsided.

One last thing, teachers can easily execute the modules without being trained completely. Training is needed to craft the modules. Not everyone will (particularly some public school teachers) be able to create an outstanding module. And to clarify, the DepEd modules are admittedly not purely Wiggins and McTighe versions, but hope to achieve the same results as the original theory. It is the idea that is important and not the details, isn’t it?

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One thought on “Update: UbD status in our school

  1. Thanks for responding with another post!

    Congratulations! I think the trade-off of losing content coverage but gaining real-life and meaningful experience and skills in math, is very much worth it. For the past years, we have been covering content, but students just easily forget these things. They kept these learnings only as long as they felt they were important – up to the finals exams. Measurement is a very important skill where we as a country is weak at. This is definitely a move to the right direction for your school.

    I know there will be skeptics who will argue that content cannot be sacrificed… “What will happen to the students when they take the college entrance exams?” I think the right response should be, “Then let’s change the format or the kind of questions in entrance exams.”

    Actually, entrance tests in the better universities (and even high schools) already have more of the higher-order thinking (HOTS) questions, and less of the “either-you-know-it-or-you-dont” kinds. So I think the way to go really is to develop thinking skills, rather than force-feeding students with information. This goes for all subjects, even for Social Studies (History) and Science, which are still labelled as “content-based” subjects.

    Keep up the good work! I’ll be happy to hear more about Science teaching in your school… the projects they are able to do there…

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